Will Nintendo ever update their dialog system?

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by DaveF, Dec 19, 2004.

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  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I've had trouble finding GameCube games that hold my attention lately, and I finally realized why: all the Nintendo games still use the text-based conversation systems, and I'm tired of it!

    I'm currently playing Paper Mario, a spunky little game with some fun features. But it's shackled by Nintendo's 20 year old conversation system, and there's not even the beepy-boops to indicate the speakers' voice style. So, once again, I'm mashing the A button to skip through endless bubbles of text. I'm presented with the "Thank you" "Shop again" "good bye" texts every time I buy something. Helpful the first time, time wasting forever after.

    I've been turned off, at least in part, by this aspect of other games, including Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime, and Zelda:Wind Waker.

    If the text was consolidated into one single paragraph would go a long ways to making it more palatable. But I really want Nintendo to get with the times, and bring in full voice with subtitles, while allowing me to skip it if I've already heard 800 times.

    This system was fine two decades ago with the NES, but it seems antediluvian now. Is there any hope for Nintendo?
     
  2. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    Very interesting...Id love to see Nintendo work with a format with more space than its current mini discs. Maybe then we would get rid of text dialog altogether!
     
  3. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    There's nothing wrong with text dialogue-many times voice acting is badly done, and either gets annoying or wastes a whole bunch of time. What I would like to make sure is that there's always a way to increase the text speed (like in all of the early dragon warrior games) so that text will appear faster (as opposed to the default snail's pace).
     
  4. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    So don't do it badly. Hire good voice actors and have sub-titles as an option -- it's far superior.

    If the entire dialog appeared immediately, I would be much happier. But I find the current system a huge detriment to games.
     
  5. Sean.S

    Sean.S Stunt Coordinator

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    The writing in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door was brilliant. Tons of humor and great references that are both internal to the game itself, and references to other Mario games.

    The lack of voice actors is fine with me. It leaves more to the imagination--which has always been the Nintendo style. How do you think Goombella would talk? Perhaps your idea is different that mine--which is fine.

    Of course, the scrolling is slow, because some kids will play this game. Of course, some of the humor and references may go over their head, but that's fine. Also, if it goes by too fast, then you might actually miss some of the humor!
     
  6. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    How so?
     
  7. Chris Farmer

    Chris Farmer Screenwriter

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    It depends on the game. Quite a few RPGs still use text-based dialogue systems. Zelda Wind Waker had just the right amount of voice for me, slight inflections, but leaving enough room for my own interpretation on the characters. Same with Mario Sunshine. Metroid Prime 2 though should have used more. The cut-scenes with the federation troopers should have been fully voiced, and the Luminoth should have spoken some alien language with subtitles, instead of the repeated vocal sound with text beneath it. I haven't played Paper Mario 2, but it seems like a game that would work better in text then full voice, especially given the paper nature of the characters. I think it really depends on the game, but for some reason the style of Nintendo's games for me seem to lend themselves more to text then many others (Resident Evil, Halo, and plenty of others would never work without full voice acting), but with the exception of Prime 2, I find the text in Nintendo's games somehow completely fitting to the game's style.
     
  8. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    Exactly. I also think that full voice would have ruined the "comic book" style of the game. I definitely think that scrolling text faster (or at least the option to) is a must.

    Perhaps the option is to do what they did in the "talkie" versions of all of the old Sierra games, and that's to give you the option of voice only, text only, or both. There were some voices that were fantastic (the characters in Gabriel Knight) and some that were terrible (the Narrator in Gabriel knight-I turned her off after five minutes!).
     
  9. Steve Y

    Steve Y Supporting Actor

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    I like text dialogs and I have never had a problem with them, especially with the Nintendo games which, as mentioned above, rely on their "written cleverness" rather than "spoken cleverness". They are not big on the human drama, so they don't need such things. It would be a waste of budget and disc space.

    Reading text can be far less a chore for me than listening to voice actors. Some games are better with voices, some aren't. For example, a cinema-style masterpiece like POP: Sands of Time would not work so well without the spoken dialogue. A game like Halo2 would NOT be effective if the soldiers you meet at the beginning of the game were handing out dialogue boxes.

    As for games like Animal Crossing, I will admit being slightly annoyed with some unskippable bits of dialog text. However: it's much better than having to listen to a voice actor's line over and over again. In some cases "slow text" is used to mask load times (for example, from inside Tom Nook's shop to outside). But most of the time, with most of the games, you can skip over and read it quickly.

    I like to pore over every aspect of a game's plot, so even with "spoken" dialogue I like to turn the subtitles on.

    I have many friends who won't even watch subtitled movies, so I respect the opinion, but personally I don't think it's a problem.

    ~s
     
  10. CaseyL

    CaseyL Supporting Actor

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    I really enjoy the scrolling text of Paper Mario 2. Yes, it could scroll a little faster, but overall, I agree that it really enhances the game. Overall, I tend to find a lot of voice acting really annoying and slow sometimes. It's great in cutscenes, but if it's in game, it can get really old. Sometimes it is almost required, though...Like Conkers Bad Fur Day. That game would have been much less without the voice acting. I think it varies from title to title.
     
  11. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Cinematographer

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    I am about ready to trade in my Gamecube for either an X-Box or a PS2. It just seems like the games I wind up buying are available on all three systems, and that too many times the games I'm interested in are either for the X-Box or PS2 but not for the Cube. I had gone with the Cube because I was looking forward to the Perfect Dark sequel, which we now know will not be made for Nintendo.
     
  12. David Williams

    David Williams Cinematographer

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    I'm confused... doesn't everyone just push 'A' which presents the entire scroll all at once? I'm just zipping through these Paper Mario conversations. Goombella is a laugh riot.

    I'll always be a Nintendo fan as long as they continue to produce well-crafted, story-rich games like The Wind Waker, Paper Mario, Eternal Darkness, etc.
     
  13. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    David Williams asked
    I'm finding Paper Mario to be a fun and engaging game, but I really dislike the endless, repetitive, fractured paragraphs. The game would be much smoother and faster without all the pauses for repeated text. I'm playing the Glitz arena and I've had to sit through the fight introduction sequence at least 20 times so far. It's tedious.
     

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